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Hero Inside

By Genevieve Kelly

Romance / Mystery

Chapter 1

Annie Walker woke up slowly one morning and noticed that the calendar on her bedroom wall had this day circled with a blue marker. It marked the anniversary of the day she officially began working at the CIA. It wasn't marked because she had plans to celebrate like some people might, but it was just a reminder of when she first began.

She couldn't believe that it had been a year now. As exciting as some of her missions were, they were also a lot more complicated and stressful than she had anticipated. Not only were her bosses tough and rarely acknowledged her good works, but she had also been leading a double life, hiding the truth from her sister, Danielle. That was what she hated most of all. She hated that lying became as natural to her as breathing.

Not that all this bothered her enough to quit. She loved the exhilaration and the unpredictable turns in her life. She never knew where she was going to be sent next and she made a number of interesting friends within the agency; Conrad, Jai, and then there was of course, Auggie.

Auggie was the sweetest and most optimistic guy you could ever meet. He is the head of tech ops and Annie feels that he knows more about the CIA than even their bosses, Arthur and Joan Campbell. At least he understood the intricacies of the massive bureaucracy in a way that no one else did. If anyone had a right to complain about life, it was him. He was blinded during a mission in Iraq and yet he has this positivism that is infectious to everyone he comes into contact with. He is witty and Annie was drawn to Auggie from the first day they met. He sees her for who she really is and trusts her implicitly. In turn, she trusts him more than anyone she has ever known. They are the best of friends, even kindred spirits.

Annie was interrupted from her thoughts as her alarm clock began to beep over and over again. She rarely slept long enough to have the need for the alarm, but she still set it just in case. Working at the CIA, the excuse of oversleeping was not acceptable. Annie hit the button which shut off the alarm and ran to go jump in the shower.

Working as an operative, she was busy all the time. This week however, had been fairly slow. She had the opportunity to go with Auggie to get a few drinks at least twice and managed to make it on time for Thursday night dinner with her sister and her family. Auggie had even treated her to a movie at the theater downtown.

The first time Auggie asked her to join him for a movie, Annie asked him how he could enjoy going to a movie, without being able to see it. He said that he went for a few reasons. First, was just so that he could at least hear it. Just because he couldn't see a movie, didn't mean he had to miss out on it completely. He hated hearing people talk about the latest movies and not knowing what it was they were talking about.

The second reason was because he liked to listen to the conversations that took place around him while the movie was playing. If it was a horror movie, people would talk about how either disgusted or scared they were. If it was a chick flick, instead of a conversation, he would hear people making out. He told Annie that she could learn a lot about the people who came to the movies.

As Annie finished getting ready for the day, she left her sister's guest house which she stayed in and went to visit with her sister for a few minutes, as well as grab a quick bite to eat before running off to work. Danielle and her family believed she worked at the Smithsonian. She asked Annie often about certain exhibits there or about certain events that took place in History. She liked History enough, but she didn't know a lot. It also wasn't always easy to come up with something to talk about on the spot. So, once again Auggie came to her rescue and would teach her History facts or stories daily just in case.

It never really donned on her until now, how much she depended on Auggie and she hoped he knew that she would always there for him whenever he needed her to be. She didn't think she would have made it in the CIA for this long if it hadn't have been for him. Whenever, she got ripped apart by either Joan or Arthur, he was always there to pick her up. He usually did so by cracking a blind joke. It didn't seem fair, but he always made her laugh that way.

When Annie walked into the kitchen, she had a smile on her face as she thought about Auggie's latest joke. Then, saw that her sister had made pancakes, bacon, and eggs for her family. She wasn't in the room, so Annie reached out to steal a few strips of bacon. As she did so, her sister suddenly appeared beside her, causing her to jump.

"Annie, you seem awfully perky today," Danielle stated. "In fact, you have been perky a lot lately. Have you been dating someone without telling me?"

"No, I haven't been dating anyone," Annie replied. "I was just thinking about a joke that a friend of mine told me at work last night. That's all."

Her sister looked at her questionably and asked, "Why haven't you introduced me to any of your friends? I don't think that you have introduced me to anyone since you've moved in here and yet I keep trying to get you to start dating again."

Annie responded, "No offense, Danielle, but you aren't very good at picking out men for me. I haven't found anything in common with any of them."

"I don't exactly see you trying to get to know them, you know," Danielle said. "I'm having a dinner party tomorrow night and I want you to come. I promise that I won't try to set you up with anyone, as long as you bring someone with you. You can bring this guy that you deny having feelings for. I'm not blind."

Annie just looked at her sister after she said that and turned to leave for work. She didn't know what she was going to do. She didn't want to be set up on another one of her dates, but she also didn't want to drag someone along with her. It wasn't really fair.

At first, she thought about maybe asking Conrad to come, but he was more like the kind of guy to meet out for drinks, rather than a guy to invite to a dinner party. Then, she thought about Jai, but she didn't feel like it would be right. Even though they were friends, it would just be too weird and awkward. Once again, Auggie came to her mind and she realized that if she was going to avoid getting set up again, Auggie was the one to ask. Besides, he knew all about Danielle setting her up all the time. Annie practically told him about everything.

She made it to work and put all thoughts of the party and dating again aside as she made her way from her car to inside the office. She met up with both Auggie and then Joan, who briefed her on her next assignment. She was asked to take pictures of an American by the name of Don Richert, who was suspected of selling some of his country's secrets.

According to a snitch in Richert's circle of friends, Richert had just flown into DC from New Mexico and was caught meeting up with some suspicious characters. The CIA wanted to know who they were and what this guy was up to. Annie believed that it was going to be another cut and dry case; a piece of cake. It was going to be another long day.

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